Socrates is credited as being one of the main sources of Western thought. He was alive c. 470 BCD – 399 BCD in Athens, Greece.
Little is really known of Socrates and his life except for in the works of his students including Plato and Xenophon. The best of Xenophon’s accounts of Socrates can be found in Memorabilia, Apology, Symposium, Oeconomicus. He is portaryed by these accounts as a great and influential man of much insight and integrity.
For Socrates the pursuit of knowledge was essential to living a good and virtuous life. ‘He tells his judges in his defense speech: human wisdom begins with the recognition of one’s own ignorance; the unexamined life is not worth living; ethical virtue is the only thing that matters; and a good human being cannot be harmed (because whatever misfortune he may suffer, including poverty, physical injury, and even death, his virtue will remain intact)’.
The Socratic Method
Described in Plato’s ‘Socratic Dialogues’. The Socratic method clarified the concepts of Good and Justice by breaking the problem down into a series of questions. In the responses to these questions you will find your answer. Thus, the Socratic method helps examine your own beliefs and morality. It is considered generally today as a method by which teachers cross-examine students. It is a means to lead the student to the correct answer but by making the student confront the flaws of their views.
The death of Socrates is perhaps the best known thing about him. He was on trail for refusing to recognise the Gods recognised by the State and for corrupting the youth. Some evidence of his guilt is purported to come from plays such as The Clouds which portrays Socrates as a clown. Socrates was not particularly political but distrusted the democrays present in Athens at the time (he did not hate democracy itself just the way it was used in Athens). As a result of his public imagine as an enemy of the state teaching such beliefs to others he was a target when there were toubles. He was found guilty and sentenced to death by Hemlock. (He could possibly have suggested excile to the judges but instead was sarcastic and suggested praise or a small fine). Stoicly he took the Hemlock and thus ended the life of a philosopher who had such an important and significant influence on the course of Western thought and upon future significant thinkers.
Here’s to Socrates.